It is known that the most sought after animal on the planet is the Whitetail deer, as they have the unique ability to adapt to human settlements. Therefore, with such huge demand for deer orchards, private-land deer management has evolved to maintain deer health while ensuring hunting success—and only the sound knowledge of deer food plots can help you achieve both.
Since, nutrition is the key factor in raising healthy and bigger bucks, you would want to know how you can provide better nutrition to take Whitetail growth to the next level. Here’s a guide.
Large Or Small Food Plots: Which Are More Suitable?
Many hunters assume that food plots are simply small cultivated areas that help attract deer within shooting range during the hunting season; however, things have started changing. Now the hunters are looking to raise bigger and healthier bucks and thus demand bigger food plots.
A bigger plot provides more quantity of nutrient-rich food to the North American Whitetail Sponsors, as it can draw in the deer from farther areas.
While talking of a small plot, a hungry animal might stop at small plot for a bit to eat but it’s unlikely that it will go far for a small food source, as it cannot draw a deer and a good hunt because it cannot satiate the herd’s hunger and nutritional needs. However, a well-managed whitetail plot is great for allowing more deer to pass through them and offer herd diverse food sources.
Which Food Crops Are The Best?
You may offer a diversity of plants on your food plot, but if it doesn’t meet the nutritional requirement of a deer herd, throughout the year, your plant variety is of no use. You need to remember that each plant provides different essential nutrients to make a well-balanced diet suitable for the deer herd, and these plants are at their peak taste and availability at different times of the year.
Therefore, the types of crops you want to plant depend on what you aim for that season. If your only goal is to attract Whitetail deer for hunting, you have to choose crops that are quite different from those you should grow if you aim to support the health and growth of the animal, especially during the gestation period.
What Is The Best Time To Plant Deer Food Plots?
Each crop grows to its best at its specific time, which further depends on the region and annual weather expectations. An area where hard winters are common may be best spent by providing adequate nutrition to deer to survive in the winter.
Cool-Season Food Plots
Cool-season food plots are important as they provide food to the deer throughout the year rather than just as preparation for the hunting season. Such crops provide energy and carbohydrates to the animals to keep them warm. Such crops include-
- Brassicas (turnips, radishes, cabbages, sugar beets, mustard plant, kale)
- Cereal grains (wheat, rye, oats)
Warm-Season Food Plots
Warm-season food plots are the most common and crucial to prepare the deer for hunting season. Generally, crops grown during the warm months target the nutrition factor so that their young ones have access to a nutrient-rich diet that enables them to grow healthily, allows females to produce milk, and makes males grow strong antlers. Such crops include-
- Legumes (clovers, alfalfa)
- Grain sorghum
Thus, there is no definitive answer to the best Whitetail food plot, as the plots will vary with season and your requirements. Crop planting times may vary with your hunting season—whether you prefer to hunt early or late in the season.
It’s totally up to you whether you want to offer nutritional food or want to just draw the deer with the food they enjoy. So, plan your food plot accordingly before setting out.